Reading through Brandon Watson’s post this morning (described here), I misunderstood and thought that Microsoft would be releasing a “beta 2” version of Mango to developers sometime in the not-too-distant future. Actually, they’re doing so today (which he does clearly communicate). And this “beta 2” release is the same code that I got weeks ago, not a newer version as I had expected. In fact, even the Zune 7.8 PC software version is the same. It’s all the same.
What’s different, or at least new, I guess, is the process by which you go about updating one (and only one) retail Windows Phone handset to the beta 2 version of Mango. Microsoft is fairly explicit in its instructions, but it bears repeating—you need to backup your phone backup (and then back it up again)—because otherwise you may never get your phone back to a working state, as you need to restore it later to upgrade to the retail Mango update.
We knew that Microsoft was going to let developers “soft update” their phones in this general fashion, but the feeling was that to do so it would need to finally deliver retail ROMs for each device to developers. It sort of looks like this flashing of ROMs is happening over the air, instead of Microsoft providing a set of ROMs for developers to choose from. I’m sure they’re worried about piracy. I’m not sure how much I can even discuss here, actually.
So let me leave it with this. I was going to upgrade my own Samsung Focus to Mango beta 2 using the developer tools method Microsoft provided today. But then it occurred to me that I already have this exact build on a second loaner phone from Microsoft, and it’s more valuable to have both versions for side-by-side comparisons for later writings. So I’ll leave my first phone as-is.
I wonder if they’ll be future Mango updates for developers or if this is it?